I don’t know about you, but for me, 2015 was a year of MASSIVE change and transformation. If there was one overall theme, for me it was courage—namely because I did so many things that scared the crap outta me, lol! But you've got to take chances in this life if you’re going to grow, right? So I did.
I broke way, way out of my comfort zone this year on several fronts. The biggest breakthrough, really, was in crashing through the narrow boundaries of how I had seen myself for so long—my role, my possibilities. At the end of 2014, I started asking myself a very powerful question: “WHY NOT? Why CAN’T I do this or that thing I’ve been wanting to try? I’ve only got one life, damn it.” That philosophy is what drove me to become a writer in the first place. If you've got a dream, you gotta try!
So, somehow, throughout 2015, stubbornness kept me from wimping out when that question led me ever deeper into unknown territory. Lo and behold, at the end of the year, I find myself a much stronger person and a more versatile writer, so all the white-knuckle moments were worth it.
But it did take constant effort and getting used to working 10-hour days. I expanded my storytelling repertoire, finally taking the time to explore the non-Regency romance ideas that had been calling to me from my file drawer for a long time, and it was so much fun! I experimented with different writing methods, such as very detailed outlining, creating a “Worldbook” (full "story bible" of characters, settings, etc.) BEFORE beginning to write, rather than figuring out details of my story as a I go (which slows the process down terribly). I invested time and effort in training myself to use Dragon dictation for the first drafts of my scenes, and also took up a very effective new habit of working in 25-minute bursts in what is called the Pomodoro Method. This has been shown to help you stay sharp for intense mental work over a longer workday...